How fear can help drive success

06/12/20213 Minutes

If you want to start a business, just do it

Whether it’s the fear of repetition, missing out or the uncertainty that ‘this is all there is’, fear can be a powerful motivator. Take advantage of the emotional impacts, and you can move forward.

Fear is what drove us to change my business.

We went from being part of ‘a good little UK business’, to creating one of the first UK tech unicorns – all before everyone else wanted to become one. What excited me was the process: starting with an idea, becoming a start-up, then growing into an upstart before ultimately becoming a sustainable business.

So far, I’ve been lucky enough to start multiple businesses, all in technology – from internet security systems, to music streaming services, to companies that protect your elderly loved ones.

These companies have all created highs and lows. The highs: the first customer (who we had never met) who bought our product for $99, validating our whole strategy. It’s easy to miss these wins, as day-to-day events can take over the focus, but this was such a high that we took the whole company out to celebrate. This came at a cost of £2,000, but it was the start of the journey.

It’s important to enjoy and celebrate the successes, otherwise it becomes a hard slog.

When you hit hypergrowth, you cannot explain the impact and the buzz. Suddenly, you’ll find that the company is worth over £1 billion. But equally, there’s the flipside: depression came when the technology bubble burst and valuations for tech businesses dropped through the floor.

Realising that a business is unable to reach sustainability or the sales growth is going to be too glacial to produce a business of any value, can be a real low. Having to close the business feels desperate, but you should never be put off.

Through the years I’ve learnt, be absolutely passionate about what you are doing – and learn from the failures, rather than being too fearful to consider making a mistake. I’ve learnt that every serial entrepreneur should always think SAFE – AKA, Simplify, Accelerate, Focus and Execute. And, if things aren’t going in the right direction, don’t be afraid to act.

Ultimately, if you want to start a business, my single piece of advice is: ‘Just do it’.